“He walked into a doorway.” “She just wasn’t paying attention to where she was going.” “I don’t know where those marks came from?” These phrases and others like them are common ways in which caregivers shrug off concerns about a loved one’s health while they are under the care of a nursing home.
Have you noticed an increase in falls, broken bones, concussions, or other physical injuries and felt like you were getting the run around from staff and caregivers? Your loved one may be the victim of physical abuse. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 16 percent of adults over the age of 60 have been the victims of some form of abuse and that two in three nursing home staff members actually report that they have engaged in abusive behavior.
Break the cycle of physical abuse in Kentucky and call the experienced attorneys with Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. Your cherished family member deserves to live their life in peace and safety, not constantly worried about when they’ll be hurt again and how much more they can take.
If you suspect your loved one is being physically abused in a Kentucky nursing home, contact or call us at (859) 550-2900 for a no-obligation legal consultation. We will fight to protect your loved one and secure the compensation your family deserves and needs to move forward.
What Is Physical Abuse?
Physical abuse in a nursing home setting is defined as any type of physical harm or violence that leaves an elderly resident injured. Physical abuse is particularly dangerous because elderly victims are already slow to heal, plus victims may also have underlying health concerns that complicate the healing process.
Injuries from physical violence can take months, and even years to recover from and can contribute to an untimely death. In fact, victims of nursing home abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to their non-abused counterparts. Physical abuse can come in many different forms; here are some of the acts that constitute physical abuse:
- Pushing or shoving
- Using objects or weapons to inflict harm
- Physically restraining someone without medical need
While this list seems extensive, abusers can become creative when it comes to inflicting harm on their victims. If you’ve seen any of these examples or other concerning behavior from a staff member or caregiver, or your loved one has mentioned that abuse is taking place, contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP immediately.
Signs of Physical Abuse
While the signs of physical abuse may seem obvious, a caregiver or staff member may try to conceal evidence of physical violence until the wounds have healed. If you haven’t been able to visit family and your only interaction is through video or phone calls, it may be hard to see the toll physical violence is taking on your family member.
There are a variety of warnings signs that you can be on the lookout for. If physical violence is already taking place, it may be up to you to intervene. An abuser may use threats of increased violence and pain to keep victims silent about their abuse. If you suspect that abuse may be taking place watch for these warning signs:
- Broken bones
- Unexplained cuts, scratches or marks
- Ligature marks or signs of restraint
- Dislocated joints
- Sprains and strain
- Failure to explain injuries or repeat injuries (changes in their story, hesitation when talking about how an injury happened)
- A strained or difficult relationship with certain caregivers
- Withdrawal from social activities, family, or close friends
- Delays in getting medical care or treatment for injuries
- A pattern of repeat injuries
- Changes in medical facilities or ER’s to treat injuries (can indicate a caregiver is trying to avoid detection)
- Anxiety, depression, or change in mood
Risk Factors for Physical Abuse in Nursing Home Residents
Unfortunately, the truth is that abusers tend to try and seek out who they consider to be the weakest prey. When it comes to abuse in a nursing home setting, that typically means that abusers will go after those with mental or physical illnesses. This is particularly true when it comes to those suffering from cognitive decline or mental impairments.
Victims suffering from cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia may not be able to clearly or effectively communicate that they are being abused by a caregiver. Even more shocking, in-depth news reports have found that even when victims came forward with claims of abuse, those claims were often dismissed or ignored because of their cognitive condition.
The same rationale also applies to those with disabilities. An abusive predator will see them as easy to prey upon, and their physical limitation means they will be less likely to fight back. An abuser may also try to count on the fact that since the victim is disabled, to begin with, there is a built-in excuse for the appearance of injuries. They may use the disability against the victim and say an injury was caused because the victim has difficulties being mobile, keeping their balance, or a host of other excuses.
Social isolation also puts elderly residents at greater risk of falling prey to abuse. Elderly individuals who live in remote areas of Kentucky, or who have relatives that live far away may be at an increased risk for abuse. That’s because they have very little in the way of a support system or family members who may visit and recognize the signs of abuse.
Whether you live down the street or across the country, communication is the key to making sure that your family member is happy, healthy, and being well cared for while in a nursing home facility.
Contact an Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP If You Suspect Physical Abuse
Are you concerned about the well-being of a loved one? Do you suspect they may be suffering from physical abuse while living in a Kentucky nursing home facility? Don’t let fear keep you from speaking up. Contact an experienced Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney and let us investigate.
Waiting could cost your loved one their life. Act now and call (859) 550-2900 to set up a no-obligation legal consultation. We want to help protect your loved one and their rights.